5.45×39 and the AK-74M

For some reason very few Americans have ever heard of this cartridge despite it being in service roughly forty years.  As I understand the lore; the Soviet Union, after decades of using 7.62x39mm as a standard rifle cartridge, was looking for something lighter.  Like the United States, and subsequently NATO, it was apparent that a 30 caliber round was a bit more than what was necessary.  Bigger bullets required bigger cartridges and more powder and so resulted in heavier loads for Soldiers.  Add to that the fact that a larger surface area was easier to defeat with body armor and by the mid 1960’s the world was looking for a lighter, faster bullet.  5.56x45mm came into the scene in the Vietnam war and the Soviet Union was impressed with it’s performance.  Seeking something similar the 5.45x39mm was born.
Like the 5.56x45mm the 5.45x39mm relies on speed and tumbling to be effective. Soviet military ammo does this quite well and a quick search of ballistics gel tests will show you jut how nasty of a round it can be. But as a civilian shooter what does this round offer?
As hobby shooters we get to enjoy a round that is lighter, easier to carry, and has considerably less recoil than the 7.62×39. Accuracy and ballistics are a bit better than 7.62×39, though still not as precise as the 5.56x45mm so common in use today. I like it as an AK round in competition as it is more equal to the AR platforms that I compete against. Accuracy isn’t as inherently good, and thanks the ban on surplus ammo it is no longer cheaper than 5.56×45, but it’s still a fun round to shoot and keeps me in the match against all the AR-15 fan-boys. There are many manufacturers of 5.45×39 though most of them are foreign and so we have to search a bit online to find the right vendor. Where I live 5,45×39 must be ordered online as finding it on the shelf of a gun store is an event worthy of marking on the calendar, so I decided to take a few varieties to the range and check for accuracy.  I was surprised with the results.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NVXUQzQLqPE&list=TLgDVARw3yynw

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